Wagy Awards & Holiday Luncheon

Each year the AAUW KC Branch awards several grants of $1,000 to $4,000 to local organizations that support our mission by promoting equity, education, intellectual growth, individual worth, and development of opportunities for Kansas City women and girls. These grants are made possible from a generous bequest from the estate of Irene Wagy, a branch member who passed away in 1996, plus donations from other branch members.

A committee of the branch reviews applications and decides on the recipient organizations. The awards are made at a holiday event in December. The Wagy grant application and awards process is managed by the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. To learn more about the awards and how to apply, go to GKCCF’s website: www.growyourgiving.org.


2016 Wagy Awards Recap

A joyful time was had by all at the annual Wagy Awards & Holiday Luncheon at MissionHills Country Club on December 3, 2016. Three wonderful organizations received Wagy grants to help local women and girls:

wagy2016• Journey to New Life received $4,000 to provide help for women returning to society from prison. (www.journeytonewlife.org)

• Rightfully Sewn received $4,000 to provide seamstress training for at-risk women.  (www.rightfullysewn.org)

Metropolitan Community College Foundation received $1,000 toward scholarships for disadvantaged women who are attending college to earn a Liscensed Practical Nursing and associated degrees. (www.mcckc.edu/foundation/)

2015 Wagy Awards Recap

wagyGuests gathered at the Mission Hills Country Club on December 5, 2015 for a holiday luncheon and to learn more about the local non-profit organizations receiving this year’s Wagy grants and how they will use the funds to help women and girls. Congratulations to these recipients:

City in Motion Dance Theater & Apprentice Co. received $2,763 for scholarships.

Connecting for Good received $3,255 for their “Pemberton Park Digital Inclusion Project.”

Science Pioneers, Inc. received $1,525 for their “Expanding Your Horizons” program costs and scholarships.

Hope House, Inc. received $4,000 for on-site dental clinics for survivors of domestic violence.

2014 Wagy Awards Recap

wagy2014300As always, the 2014 Wagy Awards & Holiday Luncheon was festive and rewarding! Three local organizations received Wagy grants for their work in the community for women and girls. The event was held on Dec. 6 at Lidia’s Restaurant. After partaking of fine Italian cuisine, guests observed a moment of silence in memory of Pam Burke, AAUW-KC Co-Program Chair, who had done the event planning and had passed away suddenly a few weeks prior. Then it was on to presentations by the representatives of the three organizations. Here is a bit about each of the organizations and the awards received. Clearly, we cannot capture in this write-up the passion these groups bring to their work nor the voices of those who benefit from their work. For that, one needed to be at this event.

Amethyst Place, Inc. provides treatment based supportive housing for homeless, low-income, high-risk women who have a history of chronic alcohol and/or drug abuse and their children. They are a campus of 38 fully furnished apartments, serving 60 families per year including their 120 children, more than half preschool age.

Julie Carmichael, Founder of Amethyst Place’s EnCompass Mentoring Program, and Christina Benz, a resident of Amethyst Place and participant in the mentoring program, and a mentee of Julie’s, received a check for $3,672 which will be used to support the mentoring program which currently consists of 20 moms and 40 mentor pairs (professional women who are already friends and have established, healthy relationships which they can model for the moms. Program participants attend to two meetings a month where they share a meal and where the moms can learn ways to improve their health-related behaviors, care of their children, and life-course development. Clearly the mentor/mentee friendships that result far surpass just the learnings that take place during the meetings, as we learned from Christina and Julie.

Connecting for Good works to ensure that low income and under resourced Kansas City residents have an Internet-connected computer in their homes. To help people become active digital citizens, Connecting for Good offers three equally important programs to the community – connectivity, affordable refurbished computers and digital literacy, conducting free classes and one-on-one and hands-on digital tutorials at its centers and mobile computer labs held in places like libraries and community centers.

Marian McClellan, AAUW member and a volunteer with Connecting for Good, spoke about the great work this organization is doing and then introduced Michael Liimatta, President of the organization, who accepted a check for $3,225 which will “buy” 43 refurbished computers for women and girls in Kansas City who, after taking Connecting for Good’s free classes, are unable to afford the cost of a computer.

True Light Family Resource Center’s Emancipation Station offers homeless, near homeless and community women a safe place to stay during the day while they search for employment and permanent housing. Classes, taught by volunteers, are offered that aim to teach skills that empower women to become self-sufficient and more productive community members.

Alice Piggee-Wallack, True Light’s Executive Director, and Kelli Wright, Board Member, were presented a check for $2,000 to purchase equipment and supplies for Emancipation Station’s Creative Outlet for Women program.  These funds will allow tan  already-successful sewing program to expand to teach participants simple quilting techniques with the hope that their work will evolve into an art form that is displayable and marketable. The quilts they create will tell a story – the maker’s story.

2014 committee members included Cynthia Ginn, Ellen Johnson, Sara Pedram, Dana Perry, Winnie Weinrich and Chair Jane Crigler. LaVon Colhour, Manager of Community Investment at the Foundation, provided staff support.

2014 Wagy table shots.

2013 Wagy Awards Recap

wagy2013The annual Wagy Awards & Holiday Luncheon was held on December 7, 2013. Grants were given to four local community organizations for their work in advancing the education and equity of women and girls:

• Assistance League of Kansas City – $1,000 to fund clothing and hygiene kits that are given to sexual assault survivors when they come to hospital emergency rooms to report the assault.

• Girls on the Run – $1,500 to sponsor a team of 15 girls from a KCMO school who will participate in this character development program that culminates in a 5K run.

• Hope House, Inc. – $3,900 to provide legal representation for domestic violence survivors who are seeking protection orders.  The grant will provide legal representation for 26 domestic violence survivors.

• R.U.B.I.E.S., Inc. – $3,600 for Project 100 which supports young women who are first generation college students, helping them prepare for college and sticking with them while they are in college.


2012 Wagy Awards Recap

AAUW-KC members and guests gathered to honor and award Wagy grants to local community organizations for their work in advancing education and equity for women and girls. This annual holiday event was held at the Blue Hills Country Club on December 1, 2012.



2011 Wagy Awards Recap

The 2011 Wagy Awards were presented to four local community organizations:

KCMO Public Library – Girls Night Out at the Library – $3,000 Opportunity for 10–15 participants aged 13–16 to meet monthly at the Irene Ruiz Branch of the library to strengthen their reading skills, explore literature, improve writing skills and develop a stronger sense of self and relationships with peers.

Sheffield Place – Developing Financial Literacy, Computer & Employment Skills – $1,500 The Take Charge! Program will provide up to 50 homeless mothers with the computer, employment and personal finance skills needed to become self-sufficient through 27 hours of classroom training over 18 weeks.

UMKC – Women in STEM First Year Interest Group – $2,700 In partnership with the UMKC Women’s Center, Residential Life, and the School of Computing and Engineering, this interest group will support college women by engaging and enhancing their interest in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathmatics) career, as well as encouraging younger female students to enter STEM careers.

Wildwood Outdoor Education Center, Inc. – WOW Women of Wildwood – $3,300 Opportunity for 10 girls from Kansas City’s urban core to attend a five-day residential camp where they will develop skills in Nature & Science, Problem Solving & Conflict Resolution, Teamwork & Cooperation and Respect for Self, Others & Nature.